Annually, IDC publishes a study that provides top 10 predictions for the imaging, printing and document solutions (IPDS) market. We’ve included here the three predictions that focus on business document automation, document solutions and managed print services.

Business document automation and optimization will reach a new level in 2014. We expect to see a shift toward electronically based data as the foundation for optimizing a business process. While there will still be opportunities to provide tools to optimize printing and scanning, such approaches do not aid in identifying bottlenecks in the process. True workflow optimization addresses all components of the workflow—paper and digital—but much of the work has focused on eliminating paper and not truly optimizing the work.

In IDC's recent business document automation and optimization survey, 66% of all companies surveyed have some initiative in place to reduce paper usage. In fact, the targeted annual paper volume reduction is 24% to 31%, depending on mean/median metric used. Current document usage reveals 55% are in paper form and 45% are in electronic form. In two years, the desired ratio is 39% in paper form and 61% in electronic form.

The top document pain points identified in the survey are document life cycle and storage management (paper and electronic); finding relevant documents, including structured and unstructured content; and the use of forms processed partly or wholly in paper. Accounting and HR are the most often mentioned processes that companies have made an effort to automate and optimize in the past 12 months. Online forms, scanning and the use of the cloud were the most often mentioned methods of optimizing the accounting process. The use of online forms was an overwhelming choice to optimize the HR process. It also appears that work on the HR and accounting processes is not done yet. Over the next year, accounting and HR are the most often mentioned processes that companies will make an effort to optimize and automate.

We also expect to witness more business document automation and optimization tools that are oriented toward specific vertical and horizontal opportunities.

Recently, a number of managed print and document services (MPDS) providers have been developing and/or acquiring vertical and/or horizontal expertise and solutions to further differentiate offerings and provide added value. This expertise, combined with existing document technologies, processes and knowledge, is empowering a new level of services and solutions that can drive business transformation and better business outcomes in buyer organizations.


miss IDC’s document management and automation address during Analyst Day at the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum on May 15 in Greenwich, CT.

IDC is calling this new category managed workflow services (MWS). MWS refers to the evolution of MPDS to a set of professional and managed services that automate and optimize vertical and horizontal document-intensive workflows and/or business processes, with service-level agreements (SLAs) that are aligned with specific business outcomes. Examples of business outcomes include shortened time to market, shortened time to revenue, reduced transaction cost, increased customer satisfaction, increased customer retention and decreased cost of customer acquisition.

In 2014, these next-generation MPDS solutions will gain greater visibility and increased buyer adoption. While the requirements for cost control, productivity improvements, increased security, better compliance and improved environmental results that are intrinsic to "traditional" MPDS will remain, we will also see SLAs that are aligned with specific business goals.

In the recent past, IPDS vendors felt it was adequate to highlight a collection of software solutions in certain categories. The mere presence of a solution in emerging opportunities offered in mobility, cloud, security and others was considered to be "good enough" to demonstrate a level of capability in the market. There were the "haves" (vendors with at least one solution in every document solution category) and the "have-nots" (vendors still working on filling holes in their solutions portfolio).

In 2014, we anticipate that it will no longer be enough for vendors to just "have" document solutions in their product portfolio. Instead, the market will have evolved enough to the point where these solutions categories will be represented in each and every IPDS vendor offering. True distinction and differentiation will need to come from specific capabilities in the solution. While we expect that vendors will continue to offer leading third-party solutions for certain opportunities, it is not a means to differentiate from other competitors. We may see more activity for internally developed or customized third-party solutions as a strategy to distinguish the overall hardware/software/services offerings from what competitors could provide.

Specific to mobility, we believe that the Mopria Alliance needs non-print vendors to see value in getting more involved in the print market. Print needs to be viewed as relevant and necessary in order to gain the attention of those IT vendors outside of this industry.

On a positive note, we expect that print management will evolve as the focal point for integration of additional document solution applications, such as capture, mobile print and device management in 2014. Device and print management software was created to manage cost associated with prints and printers. Key functions of device and print management focus on installation, management and diagnostic of prints and print technologies. Print management on its own focuses on tracking and managing prints, assuring that prints are utilized and passing on cost associated with prints.

IDC's recently published document solution study shows that worldwide device and print management 2012 revenue generated 11% growth from 2011. IDC forecasts that the worldwide device management and control software market will grow to $908 million by 2017, representing a five-year CAGR of 12.6%.

The benefits obtained from the integration of the additional tools are complete management of the devices from the output and input; simplifying deployment and user interface (UI) remains consistent for users, reducing new product hesitation.

Don’t miss IDC’s document management and automation address during Analyst Day at the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum on May 15 in Greenwich, CT.

RON GLAZ is a research director for IDC's Hardcopy Peripherals: Software and Services research. In this role, he is responsible for writing research in the software and services arena, including document solutions, business document automation and document capture solutions. Prior to his current role, Mr. Glaz managed IDC's Digital Capture research group.

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